#notetoself Feed

Note to Self: Is there somebody I should read who has thought deeply and powerfully about these issues?: Homer's Odyssey Blogging: "Like Little Birds... They Writhed with Their Feet... But for No Long While...": I love [David] Drake. I love the Odyssey. But I am distressed to find myself somewhat more sympathetic than I want to be with Plato's recommendation that only "hymns to the gods and praise of famous men" be allowed in the Just City because allowing more would lead to sensation and melodrama and would excite the baser instincts of men. And I have now opened up the following can of worms: How do we educate people to read—listen—watch—properly, so that they become their better rather than their worse selves? Mind you, I do not wish that the Odyssey were otherwise (or that David Drake wrote otherwise). But I do wish we teachers taught better how to read—and listen—and watch...

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Note to Self: Playing with Sargent-Stachurski QuantEcon http://quantecon.org: I have long been annoyed with the standard presentation of the Solow Growth Model because the state variable k—capital per effective worker—is not observable in the real world, while the capital-output ratio κ is. Moreover, the steady-state capital-output ratio has an easy to remember and intuitive description: it is the savings rate divided by the economy's steady-state investment requirements. Capital per effective worker has no such intuitive description. Plus the capital-output ratio exhibits exponential convergence to the steady-state. Capital per effective worker does not:

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Note to Self: The question is whether our current market values are in fact "Pangloss" values, and are going to come back to earth at some point, with the shock provided by that return to earth providing a nasty expectational shock that will cause a depression—but with that return to earth delayed long enough to plausibly reelect Trump—or whether current values are appropriate given underlying fundamentals, and are in fact about the only thing keeping us out of a depression right now...

My sense is that "we need to raise reserve requirements in a boom" is very good policy; but that "we need to pop this bubble" is almost always very bad policy.

And we do not appear to have any (large) equity bubble. The weirdness is all in bond prices:

S P 500 PE Ratio 90 Year Historical Chart MacroTrends

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Note to Self: The establishment-survey payroll-employment number (red line) contain within them a guess as to how many newly-formed forms there are that have not yet caught up to and entered the payroll system. When a recession starts, that guess at the fudge factor can be way high.

On the other hand, the household-survey employment number (blue line) has a lot more statistical noise in it.

The bet right now is that late last year the household survey interviewers just happened by luck on a bunch of people enthusiastic about working, but nothing is guaranteed. It might be that the firm birth-death guess is leading the establishment survey (red line) astray:

Civilian Employment Level FRED St Louis Fed

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Twitter Thread: "He has waged cruel War against human Nature itself...: Annette Gordon-Reed @agordonreed: "So many of the grievances in the Declaration could be challenged. Heck, the whole enterprise of presenting themselves as having been oppressed/enslaved by the British was wifty...

...To have a foundational document describe the evil of what had happened to Africans could have been quite meaningful. Think of the use that has been made of “all men are created equal” as an affirmation. In the understandable zeal to catch TJ out on hypocrisy, historians have missed the recognition of the violation of the human rights of Africans. We can go on and on about whether TJ sincerely believed these things, as if American history were some gigantic revival meeting. But words matter, and sincerity is overrated...

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Twitter Thread: @RBrookhiser "When Mao's economic policies associated with the Great Leap Forward caused a nationwide famine, Peng became critical of Mao's leadership. The rivalry between Peng and Mao culminated in an open confrontation between the two at the 1959 Lushan Conference. Mao won this confrontation, labeled Peng as a leader of an 'anti-Party clique', and purged Peng...

...Following the advent of the Cultural Revolution, Peng was arrested by Red Guards. From 1966–1970, radical factions within the Communist Party, led by Lin Biao and Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, singled out Peng for national persecution, and Peng was publicly humiliated in numerous large-scale struggle sessions and subjected to physical and psychological torture in organized efforts to force Peng to confess his "crimes" against Mao Zedong and the Communist Party. In 1970 Peng was formally tried and sentenced to life imprisonment, and he died in prison in 1974. After Mao died in 1976, Peng's old ally, Deng Xiaoping, emerged as China's paramount leader. Deng led an effort to formally rehabilitate people who had been unjustly persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, and Peng was one of the first leaders to be posthumously rehabilitated https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peng_Dehuai...

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Note to Self: F--- you, @jack. Twitter keeps—somehow—reversing my view from "Latest Tweets" to your algorithmic "Home", showing me first tweets I am likely to engage in. But tweets I am likely to engage in are not the tweets I want to see. You are hacking my brain, @jack—and not in a good way.

Thus you have made yourself my enemy: Things that advertise on Twitter I will not buy. Opportunities for me to cheaply degrade your reputation and reduce your wealth I will gladly take advantage of.

Quite stunning that you have developed such potentially useful tool, @jack, and yet have managed to make yourself so thoroughly my enemy, isn't it? One might say it requires a close-to-unique talent...

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Preview of Untitled

Note to Self: Richard M. Johnson (1780-1850), Vice President and Senator, and Julia A. Chinn (1790-1833), slave and châtelaine:

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It Was Political Decisions, Not Trade or even Technology, That Done It...

Economics Identity and the Democratic Recession YouTube

Note to Self: From Council on Foreign Relations: The Future of Democracy Symposium: Session Two: Economics, Identity, and the Democratic Recession: Over 2001—2008 the furniture workers who had lost their jobs because of NAFTA and the China shock were getting new and better jobs in construction, building up Raleigh and Durham. Few unhappy about the economic transformation of the Carolinas until late 2008. Then, all of a sudden, it turned out that a great many securities rated AAA by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s in fact had no business being sold to anyone at any price at all; the Democrats did not prioritize a return to full employment; and the Republicans prioritized a non-return to full employment in the hope of weakening a Democratic president. Economic anxiety producing racial cleavage, yes. But it was political decisions, not trade or even technology that done it.

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If You Were Right, John, Then Massachusetts Politics Would Have Turned This Strange Weird Trumpist Flavor Back in the 1950S

Economics Identity and the Democratic Recession YouTube

Note to Self: From Council on Foreign Relations: The Future of Democracy Symposium: Session Two: Economics, Identity, and the Democratic Recession: Look at me: Harvard Ph.D., Harvard B.A., Harvard B.A ancestors back to 1686 or whenever, Sidwell Friends School, and before that Cal Tech nursery school. But my wife grew up—first generation in her family to go to college—in a Portuguese neighborhood of Fall River, where everyone’s parents and grandparents worked in the textile mills. The textile mills of Fall River were stripped by Greensboro, North Carolina. They took the jobs away from the Portuguese millworker immigrants of Fall River. They stole that identity.

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Do We Have Any Republican Remedies for the Diseases of Republican Government?

Signing of the Constitution by Louis S Glanzman Teaching American History

Note to Self: It was 80 blocks south of here that Alexander Hamilton wrote to the middle class of New York that:

The history of the petty republics of Greece and Italy... feeling sensations of horror and disgust... intervals of felicity... overwhelmed by the tempestuous waves of sedition and party rage...

That is how the rest of the world views Britain and the United States in this age, the age of Brexit and Trump. And I haven’t even raised the strange spectacle of our modern-day Earl of Warwick, Rupert the Kingmaker. Few among middle classes abroad today think that the Anglo-Saxon democracies have it right, deliver the goods.

Hamilton and Madison had plans for republican remedies to the diseases of republican government. What would your remedies be?

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Brad DeLong: "Job Guarantee" vs. "Functional Finance":

Job Guarantee: "Our policy is for the government to run a deficit to offer low-quality make-work low-pay jobs that suck"

Functional Finance: "Our policy is for the government to run a deficit so that the labor market is in balance with employers getting the most value for their money possible and workers getting the most money for their time and energy possible with unemployment reduced to a 'frictional' level'

Job Guarantee is really stupid on many levels. Functional Finance is really smart. Put me down for Functional Finance, Alex, and make it a true daily double...

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Note to Self: Quantum Computing Notes: CNOT Gates


|++> = [+ |00> + |01> + |10> + |11>]      
|+-> = [+ |00> - |01> + |10> - |11>]       
|-+> = [+ |00> + |01> - |10> - |11>]     
|—-> = [+ |00> - |01> - |10> + |11>]

|00> = + |++> + |+-> + |-+> + |—->   
|01> = + |++> - |+-> + |-+> - |—->   
|10> = + |++> + |+-> - |-+> - |—->   
|11> = + |++> - |+-> - |-+> + |—->


1 Control Qubit:

|10> to |11>   
|11> to |10>

|++> = [+ |00> + |01> + |10> + |11>] to [+ |00> + |01> + |10> + |11>] = |++>   
|+-> = [+ |00> - |01> + |10> - |11>] to [+ |00> - |01> - |10> + |11>] = |-->   
|-+> = [+ |00> + |01> - |10> - |11>] to [+ |00> + |01> - |10> - |11>] = |-+>   
|--> = [+ |00> - |01> - |10> + |11>] to [+ |00> - |01> + |10> - |11>] = |+->


2 Control Qubits:

|110> to |111>   
|111> to |110>

|+++> = [+ |000> + |010> + |100> + |110> + |001> + |011> + |101> + |111>] to [+ |000> + |010> + |100> + |111> + |001> + |011> + |101> + |110>] = |+++>   
|+-+> = [+ |000> - |010> + |100> - |110> + |001> - |011> + |101> - |111>] to [+ |000> - |010> + |100> - |111> + |001> - |011> + |101> - |110>] = |+-+>    
|-++> = [+ |000> + |010> - |100> - |110> + |001> + |011> - |101> - |111>] to [+ |000> + |010> - |100> - |111> + |001> + |011> - |101> - |110>] = |-++>   
|—-+> = [+ |000> - |010> - |100> + |110> + |001> - |011> - |101> + |111>] to [+ |000> - |010> - |100> + |111> + |001> - |011> - |101> + |110>] = |--+>    
|++-> = [+ |000> + |010> + |100> + |110> - |001> - |011> - |101> - |111>] to [+ |000> + |010> + |100> - |110> - |001> - |011> - |101> + |111>] = (+ |++-> + |+--> + |-+-> - |—-->)   
|+--> = [+ |000> - |010> + |100> - |110> - |001> + |011> - |101> + |111>] to [+ |000> - |010> + |100> + |110> - |001> + |011> - |101> - |111>] = (+ |++-> + |+--> - |-+-> + |—-->)   
|-+-> = [+ |000> + |010> - |100> - |110> - |001> - |011> + |101> + |111>] to [+ |000> + |010> - |100> + |110> - |001> - |011> + |101> - |111>] = (+ |++-> - |+--> + |-+-> + |—-->)   
|—--> = [+ |000> - |010> - |100> + |110> - |001> + |011> + |101> - |111>] to [+ |000> - |010> - |100> - |110> - |001> + |011> + |101> + |111>] = (- |++-> + |+--> + |-+-> + |—-->)

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Economics, Identity, and the Democratic Recession: Tuesday April 9, 2019, 9:45-11:00 AM

Il Quarto Stato

John Judis and Catherine Rampell are the best people:

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)... symposium on 'The Future of Democracy' on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at CFR’s headquarters at 58 East 68th Street in New York. You will be speaking on panel two, 'Economics, Identity, and the Democratic Recession', from 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. We have confirmed John Judis and Catherine Rampell to join you on this panel. We are still working to confirm a presider.

A session on the state of democratic government in different regions of the world will take place from 8:00 to 9:45 a.m., followed by your session at 10:00 a.m. A few minutes before the session begins, you will be seated onstage with your fellow panelists.

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Note to Self: There are few enough things in the world or concerning the state of the (non-House) federal government to be thankful for these days. But one i that, despite his enormous deficits and unfitness for the office of president, Donald Trump is not a chickenhawk:

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This Has Certainly Been One Crazifying Fed Tightening Cycle...

FRED Graph FRED St Louis Fed

This has certainly been one crazifying Fed tightening cycle.

The 10-year nominal Treasury rate is only 0.2%-points higher than it was back in mid-2015, when liftoff appears imminent. the 10-year real rate is back where it started at 0.65, after having gone as low as zero and as high as 1.1%. And—unless it is triggered by strong good growth news—any further increase in the federal funds rate would invert the yield curve, which the Federal Reserve has decided not to do.

I really wish I had some idea of just what the Federal Reserve plans to do to fight the next recession, whenever the next recession come along. It has know since at least mid-2010 that the bond market believes that secular stagnation—at least in its effect on long-term interest rates—is a very real thing.

Presumably the Fed still believes that when the next recession comes it has one job: to drop the 10-year real Treasury rate so that expanded construction and exports can take up some of the emerging labor-market slack and so cushion the downturn. But I have no idea what policies it thinks it will pursue that will accomplish that...

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A Baker's Dozen of Books Worth Reading... (2019-03-21)

The Vela

  1. The Vela https://www.serialbox.com/serials/the-vela
  2. Barbara Chase-Ribaud: Sally Hemings; A Novel https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1569766797
  3. Annette Gordon-Reed: Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0813933560
  4. Kevin O'Rourke: A Short History of Brexit https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0241398339
  5. E.M. Halliday: Understanding Thomas Jefferson https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0060957611
  6. Guy Gavriel Kay: A Song for Arbonne https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1101667435
  7. Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1557094934
  8. Keri Leigh Merritt: Masterless Men https://books.google.com/books?isbn=110718424X
  9. Gareth Dale: Karl Polanyi: A Life on the Left https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0231541481
  10. Philip Auerswald: The Code Economy: A Forty-thousand-year History https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0190226765
  11. John Judis: The Nationalist Revival: Trade, Immigration, and the Revolt Against Globalization https://books.google.com/books?isbn=099974540
  12. Richard Baldwin: The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0190901772
  13. Patricia Crone: Pre-Industrial Societies: Anatomy of the Pre-Modern World https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1780748043

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South australia sea shanty Google Search

Note to Self: South Australia:

In South Australia I was born.
Heave away! Haul away!
In South Australia, 'round Cape Horn.
We’re bound for South Australia.

Heave away, heave away
Oh heave away, you rolling king,
We're bound for South Australia.

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Note to Self: _A Comment on Development Engineering: With respect to "doing good versus doing well"...

From an economist's point of view, the economy is a decentralized societal calculating machine. It looks at everybody, and tries, in a utilitarian way, to increase social welfare—which it roughly defines as summing everybody's well-being, with each person's well-being weighted by their lifetime wealth. This produces a system in which incentives are, and "doing well" achieved by, increasing resources that produce things for which rich people have a serious Jones.

Serving the global poor is not going to do that. Som making a living serving the poor requires focusing on one of two things:

  1. Finding an organization—a government or an NGO—that is willing to some degree to commit resources to bend this market logic of "to those who have, more shall be given"

  2. Find some people who have skills and resources and industry that are somehow blocked from the sight of the world market, and figure out a narrow strategic intervention that will makes those resources visible—and hence valuable.

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Note to Self: Trying and failing to gain conceptual clarity about and work my way through the algebra involved in a minor point in Blanchard's excellent and stimulating presidential address: Public Debt and Low Interest Rates: https://nbviewer.jupyter.org/github/braddelong/WS2019/blob/master/Thinking_About_Blanchard%27s_Presidential_Address....ipynb?flushcache=true...

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Note to Self: The Heritage Foundation, the Club for Growth, and Stephen Moore Have No Principles Whatsoever. Why Do You Ask?: Now that Stephen Moore has signed up with Donald Trump, he is opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership.... On Trish Regan's show with him, he made four points about TPP: 1. The agreement is long, and has lots of pages in it. 2. The agreement does not commit the Asians to stop copying our intellectual property. 3. The agreement does allow the U.S. to impose retaliatory penalties on other signatories if they do copy our intellectual property, but they will copy anyway. 4. The agreement is unlike NAFTA, which is a good thing. But... short months ago...

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Note to Self: The Two Best Books I Read in 2018:

John Carreyrou: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1524731668: John Carreyou broke the Theranos fraud story and here tells it magnificently. It is a grift of others—and a self-grift by the Theranos principals—of almost unbelievable magnitude. The only way to understand the investors and principals is, in the words of one Silicon Valley observer: “they had seen too many of their once-peers and now-superiors get rich by doing stupid things that they thought being stupid was a viable business model”...

Adam Tooze: Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0525558802: The field of the finance and economics of the past decade’s disasters has been well plowed by authors Like Barry Eichengreen, Martin Wolf, and Gary Gorton. The brilliant Adam Tooze, however, is the first I am aware of to successfully and magisterially broaden the scope, and do a satisfactory job on the political economy and the politics as well...

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Note to Self: Enjoyed Cherryh and Fancher's Alliance Rising very much, but... I wish I had read something else this past week and had saved this for five years from now, when The Hinder Stars II, III, and... IV? would be out...

For reasons I do not fully understand, these days publishers seem to want to greenlight books where the authors say: “and we have already written to sequels!” This then creates the problem of how to end the first book with a satisfactory plot resolution while still leaving a bigger story open for the sequels. It is a hard problem. And, much as I enjoyed reading Alliance Rising, Cherryh and Fancher did not quite manage to make it work.

Mind you, it is close—If only Jen-and-Ross-Together had been given twice the screen time, 40% rather than 20% of the book, it would have been a wonderful Happy-for-Now romance In addition to all of its other excellences. And overshadowing it all is that it is all going to end very badly for a great many of the major characters: Because I do not remember hearing about them in any previous Cherryh book, I fear for the ships Rights of Man and Galway and for the entire Monahan family. And I know that Alpha Station becomes a Mazianni military base. I have a bad feeling about Hinder Stars II, III, and... IV?: C. J. Cherryh and Jane S. Fancher: Alliance Rising: The Hinder Stars I https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0756412730...

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Note to Self: No, Apple! No Potty Mouth, Please!: A number of the biases in voice recognition systems come from the initial training dataset. Senior google employees have claimed to me–how serious they were I do not know–that Gmail autocomplete's extraordinary! love! for! exclamation! points! comes from its use of google engineers as its initial training dataset.

Today I am disturbed that Apple voice recognition keeps hearing “slut“ when I say “slack“. What training dataset produces that? From my perspective, Apple voice recognition needs to acquire much less of a potty mouth—or at least to have a potty-mouth-off switch—for it to be useful to me. Someday it is going to do something, and I am not going to catch it...

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Note to Self: Optional Readings by This Year's Note Prize Winners:

  1. Paul Romer (1989): Endogenous Technological Change: "Growth in this model is driven by technological change that arises from intentional investment decisions made by profit maximizing agents. The distinguishing feature of the technology as an input is that it is neither a conventional good nor a public good; it is a nonrival, partially excludable good...

  2. Paul Romer (2015): Economic Growth: "Every generation has perceived the limits to growth that finite resources and undesirable side effects would pose if no new recipes or ideas were discovered. And every generation has underestimated the potential for finding new recipes and ideas...

  3. William D. Nordhaus (1996): Do Real-Output and Real-Wage Measures Capture Reality? The History of Lighting Suggests Not: "During periods of major technological change, the construction of accurate price indexes that capture the impact of new technologies on living standards is beyond the practical capability of official statistical agencies. The essential difficulty arises for the obvious but usually overlooked reason that most of the goods we consume today were not produced a century ago...

  4. William D. Nordhaus (2007): A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change: "How much and how fast should we react to the threat of global warming? The Stern Review argues that the damages from climate change are large, and that nations should undertake sharp and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions...

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